Cricket Debate: Ollie Pope almost 'clone' of Joe Root, says Rob Key
"In Test cricket you need to be able to get into third gear, just play and react. I thought Pope did that brilliantly"
Last Updated: 02/12/19 8:58pm
Rob Key told The Cricket Debate that Ollie Pope is almost a "clone" of Joe Root and that his maiden Test fifty was a vital Test innings.
The 21-year-old Surrey batsman batted diligently to support Root as he completed a first half-century in his sixth knock at Test level.
Speaking on The Cricket Debate - which you can listen to in the player below or by downloading here - Key said: "Pope is clone, almost, of Root - someone he would have grown up watching - with the same sort of triggers. He also looks a bit like Ian Bell with the helmet on.
"I thought it was a really important knock. Pope is a very good young player, who is buzzing all the time, always looking for something. He has a lot of energy.
"But in Test cricket you need to be able rein that in a little bit, get into third gear, just play and react. I thought he did that brilliantly. He almost found his tempo. I don't just mean the way that he scores but everything about him, his body language."
Key's fellow Cricket Debate guest, Lancashire's former Durham seamer Graham Onions, says Pope may be a little vulnerable outside off stump at the moment but hopes England persevere with him.
"He went through a tricky period with Neil Wagner coming around the wicket," Onions said of Pope, who averages over 63 in first-class cricket.
"He has got a potential weakness in his mental approach in searching for wide balls, where he played and missed a few times.
"But you have to give him an extended run. He looks a really good player, with a really good technique. I think he could be a really good No 6.
"We saw a couple of rash shots in the first Test but the more time he spends in the middle and with the England setup, he will feel more comfortable, like he feels in the Surrey dressing room."
Also on The Cricket Debate, Rob, Graham and host Charles Colvile discussed….
- Root's third Test double century and what has clicked for him in Hamilton
- Whether England batted too slowly in the morning session
- Why Wagner, who has bagged four five-fors in as many Tests, has been so successful
- Who England's key men will be as they look to push for victory on day five
- Whether Root's men will rue not playing a spinner at Seddon Park
- And a whole lot more!
Watch day five of the second Test between New Zealand and England live on Sky Sports Cricket from 9pm on Monday.